I woke up early, straightened by hair and applied makeup. Let it be noted: I don't apply makeup for just any occasion.
Jon woke up equally excited. He wanted an Obama sticker from my stash.
After I voted:
Jon came home and applied his stickers from the day to my poster of Jack and Bobby. He thinks they would approve.
And then we watched, and waited. And in the midst of the excitement and the crying I remembered to take a photo to capture the moment. Judging by other photos on the internet today, I was not the only one.
I have to tell you something about last night that I will remember forever. When the election was called and CNN was flipping through crowd shots of people crying and rejoicing all over, Grant Park in Chicago, Times Square, Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta (the home church of MLK Jr), my Dad began to cry too.
It's not the tears that got to me. My Dad is pretty in tune with emotion. But the reminder of the time he was born into. And the realization that people of his generation, who saw the things he did, might never have thought this was possible.
My father was born in 1958, he remembers sitting on his mother's lap at the age of 5 while she cried over Jack Kennedy. He was 10 when we lost Martin and Bobby. He was 18 when he helped a black soldier out of his car and away from a riot on Dixie Highway at the height of the busing situation. My Dad knows the troubles of this country. He knows racism and bigotry. He comes from a different time. And he's not perfect, because he's said things in the past that have sometimes made me cringe.
But last night he cried because the barriers of this country were broken. 'We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal.' It's not just some phrase in some old document. Barack Obama fulfilled Martin Luther King's dream: he was judged by the content of his character and NOT by the color of his skin.
I told my Dad, 'we did it' and he replied, 'no, God did it.'
And that moment, with tears streaming down his face and pride in his eyes, is a moment I will never forget.
To those who are upset with the election results today, all those who wanted John McCain to win, I want to take a moment to speak to you.
I understand how you are feeling. Al Gore in 2000, John Kerry in 2004, I've been there on the other side of an election. I've had a President with an absolute opposite ideological view. I know what it is like to disagree with your commander in chief. But I also know that at the end of the day, whoever our President may be, they are people. They are fathers and husbands and sons. I may not have agreed with a majority of what George W. Bush has done over the last 8 years, somewhere within me I can find a small bit of like for Mr. Bush.
I'm rambling, but my point is this: you may not like Barack Obama. You might disagree with every policy he puts on the table. But at the end of the day he's Malia and Sasha's Dad and Michelle's husband. He is a person who thinks he can fix some of the problems our country is facing. The electorate has spoken and he has four years to show us what he'll do. And no matter what it is, we will be okay. Nobody truly pursues the highest office in the land if all they want to do is destroy it.
That said, dissent IS the highest form of patriotism. If you disagree with him for 4 years, if you dislike every single thing he tries to do and you want to express your opinion about it, GO RIGHT AHEAD. I will never call you unpatriotic. I will never submit to this 'with us or against us' mentality.
John McCain was incredibly gracious in defeat last night. I only wish we'd seen more of that John this election, not whatever his campaign spiraled out of control and into after the Palin pick. Senator McCain will always have my utmost respect and admiration for his service to this nation. And I think we all now know that John McCain is a REALLY funny guy...and I have a thing for funny guys.
So thank you, Senator McCain, for the laughs and for the kind words last night. May you pick yourself up, dust off your boots, get back to Washington and begin giving them all (Republicans and Democrats) hell again like you do best.
I knew that I would be proud at our win last night. I knew I'd probably cry. I knew the crowd in Chicago would be amazing. But what I didn't anticipate was the outpouring and pride and emotion across this country and across the globe. I have been overwhelmed in the past 24 hours with photos and clips of celebrations. But I think this video takes the cake for the one that stirred up the most emotion.
A spontaneous rendition of our National Anthem by a crowd at Union Square in New York City:
And so concludes this long election. Two years of caucuses, of debates, of barriers broken and glass ceilings cracked. It has been long. But it has been wonderful.